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2005 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix
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Track Layout (from the FIA)

Raikkonen with an advantage!

Kimi Raikkonen reduced the gap to Fernando Alonso by 10 points in the Title fight following the Canadian Grand Prix. He also heads into the United States Grand Prix with the advantage of being the last driver out in qualifying. He should be able to qualify ahead of his main rival Alonso who will be the 4th driver to go out in qualifying. With a better grid position Raikkonen should be able to shrink that gap further.

That of course assumes everything goes to plan but we know that the United States Grand Prix rarely produces a predictable result. You only have to look at the results from the previous 2 years!

Kimi Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes MP4/20 - 2005

We saw in Canada that Renault and McLaren were the class of the field. Then it was BAR, Ferrari, Toyota and Williams. Yes Button qualified on Pole and Michael Schumacher was second on the grid but both were very light. On pace alone the fight will again be between Renault and McLaren however the US GP like the Canadian GP usually gives us a few surprises and that is what is more likely to happen!

Last year Michael Schumacher won the race from Rubens Barrichello. Takuma Sato finished on the podium for the first time while Jarno Trulli finished 4th after starting from the back.
Ralf Schumacher suffered a big crash that sidelined him for 5 races while Montoya was black flagged as he took the spare car too late. 

The Indy track is a real comprise when it comes to setting up the car. The banked section requires minimum downforce while the slow and twisty infield section requires maximum downforce. The teams opt for a low downforce configuration to achieve a higher straight line speed. 
The track is also hard on engines as the cars spend as much as 24 seconds on maximum power without a break. Most teams will be running fresh engines but you'd still expect a few engine failures.
Tyre selection will be tricky particularly with the current single-tyre rule. The banked section is abrasive while the infield section requires grip. 
This should be a very interesting race.

Here is a team by team review:

Renault: Failed to finish either of their cars in Canada. Fisichella had a hydraulic problem while Alonso made a mistake. Things started to go wrong for them in Canada last year but I doubt this year will be the same. They have to figure out why Fisichella retires so often!.
Reliability 8.0/10 - Speed 9.5/10 (Latest Renault Team News)

Drivers: Fernando Alonso looked set for winning the Canadian Grand Prix but a mistake put him out of the race. Last year he retired from the US Grand Prix with a puncture and he'll be hoping to do better this year. A poor qualifying slot will affect his chances however they may opt for a lighter fuel load to push him near the front. Podium possible but a win is unlikely.

Giancarlo Fisichella led the Canadian Grand Prix after an impressive start but yet again suffers a problem and retires from the race. He should be able to score points here provided he doesn't get another dose of bad luck!

McLaren: They weren't the fastest in Canada however this track suits them better and they will probably be the fastest. They should be able to score another win.
Reliability 9.0/10 - Speed 9.5/10 (Latest McLaren Mercedes Team News)

Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen won in Canada after the 3 cars in front of him ran into problems. He'll most likely start from the front and stay there.

Juan Pablo Montoya was harshly done by when the team failed to call him in when the safety car was deployed then he ran the red light exiting the pits. The result, a black flag when minutes earlier he was leading comfortably. His disqualification also means he'll be the first out in qualifying here. Points likely, podium difficult. 

Williams: They move ahead of Toyota in the Constructors' Championship although they are equal on points. Despite that they were off the pace in Montreal and don't expect them to be much better here. The friction between Williams and BMW isn't helping either.
Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 9.0/10 (Latest Williams BMW Team News)

Drivers: Nick Heidfeld remains 4th in the Drivers Championship despite suffering a blown engine in Montreal. He'll struggle given his starting position in qualifying and his car. Points possible, podium unlikely.

Mark Webber had a messy race in Canada but managed to finish 5th which is a reasonably good result given his starting position on the grid. Like his team-mate, points likely but a podium will be difficult.

Toyota: Lost out on a podium finish in Canada after Trulli suffered a brake failure. They were strong in Montreal and will even be stronger here.   
Reliability 9.5/10 - Speed 9.0/10 (Latest Toyota Team News)

Drivers: Jarno Trulli suffered a brake failure while running 3rd late in the race in Canada. Should do well here. A podium is possible.

Ralf Schumacher has a poor record here only finishing once outside the points. Last year he had a big crash that put him out of racing for 5 races. A points finish is likely if he lasts the distance.

Ferrari: Move to within 2 points of Williams and Toyota after benefiting from the failures suffered by those two. They were off the pace in Montreal. They could be a bit closer to the front here but they still have a lot of work to do to catch up with the current leaders.  
Reliability 9.0/10 - Speed 9.0/10  (Latest Ferrari Team News)

Drivers: Michael Schumacher wasn't the second fastest in Montreal yet managed to stay out of trouble and finish second. He'll have a good grid position but a podium will be difficult.

Rubens Barrichello had a good race at Montreal and recovered nicely after starting from the pitlane. If he doesn't have problems in qualifying he'll be very close to Michael. Expect a close fight between the two in the race. 

Red Bull: Had a double point finish in Montreal against all odds thanks to the many retirements in front. They are getting a new specification Cosworth engine this weekend and that should give them a boost however will it be reliable ?
Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 8.0/10 (Latest Red Bull Racing Team News)

Drivers: David Coulthard finished 7th in Montreal. What is amazing is that he is getting very similar results in the Red Bull to what he was achieving in the McLaren! Points will be difficult but you can't discount him!

Christian Klien finished 8th in Montreal scoring 1 point. That is what Liuzzi managed to achieve from all 4 races he took part in. Red Bull should keep him for the rest of the season. He'll once again be close to Coulthard. Points will be very difficult.

Sauber: Did well at Montreal with Massa finishing 4th. They needed many cars in front to retire for that to happen though! They have a chance of scoring a point or two here unless many cars in front drop out. 
Reliability 8.0/10 - Speed 8.5/10 (Latest Sauber Team News)

Drivers: Felipe Massa moves ahead of his team-mate following a good performance in Montreal. A good qualifying slot will help him here and may score a point or two.

Jacques Villeneuve had to replace his front wing early in the race in Canada and that ruined his race. He managed 9th which isn't too bad given the circumstances. He could do well here but points will be very difficult.

Jordan: Had a poor race in Montreal and it appears that they team isn't being managed well. They'll struggle again here even though they are running one of the most powerful engines in F1! 
Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 7.5/10 (Latest Jordan Team News)

Drivers: Narain Karthikeyan seems to do better than his team-mate in qualifying but when it comes to the race he seems to be making too many mistakes. That won't help his career in F1. Don't expect much here.

Tiago Monteiro is the only driver along with Felipe Massa to have finished all 9 races this season. He could be slower than his team-mate but avoids mistakes and makes it to the finish. Of course this doesn't mean he'll score points here but if he stays out of trouble and enough drivers retire then he could! 

BAR: They lost a real chance of a podium finish in Canada and this time it wasn't due to car failure. They were very strong here last year so they could finally move forward from 9th!
Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 9.0/10 (Latest BAR Team News)

Drivers: Jenson Button was close to scoring a podium when he lost it and hit the wall. He should do well here if his car is reliable. A podium is possible.

Takuma Sato had a gearbox problem in Canada which saw him the first out of the race however the team put the spare gearbox in his car and sent him back out after 24 minutes to improve his finishing order. He will now be the 6th driver out and that is much better than being the first out. Last year he finished on the podium and was very strong in the race. He'll be very close to his team-mate and could finish on the podium. 
Of course this assumes the car is reliable and the engine holds! 

Minardi: They showed signs of improvement in Canada however they are down on power and they need it here!.
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 7.0/10 (Latest Minardi Team News)

Drivers: Christijan Albers impressed in qualifying in Canada and managed to finish the race too. He could have a good race and if many cars run into problems he could score a point! Last year Baumgartner scored the first and only point for Minardi here!

Patrick Freisacher struggled in Canada before retiring from the race. Expect him to struggle here too. 

Bridgestone News - Michelin News

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